On Craig Smith’s two point night, the Nashville Predators have taken a two-game lead over the Anaheim Ducks by winning 3-2 before making the trip to Music City.
Andrew Cogliano opened the scoring with 5:40 remaining in the opening frame with an unassisted backhander, but they couldn’t hold that lead into the intermission, as Mattias Ekholm, assisted by Colin Wilson and Smith, leveled the score on a backhander with 56 seconds remaining in the frame.
Both sides certainly had their opportunity to find more offense, as a total of five penalties were committed for three power plays (favoring Nashville by a lone advantage).
Smith liked being involved in the scoring, so he gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at the 9:55 mark on a wrister, assisted by Filip Forsberg and Third Star of the Game Roman Josi. Josi passed the puck to Forsberg, who pulled the net behind John Gibson’s net. As Smith advanced towards the crease, Forsberg put the puck on his stick, allowing Smith to find the left post. Things leveled out following that tally, as neither team was able to effect that score. With 2:30 remaining in the second period, David Perron was sent to the box for interference against Ryan Ellis, which proved to be costly, as Shea Weber’s slap shot, assisted by Josi and Forsberg, found the back of Gibson’s net at the 19:21 mark to set the differential at two tallies, and proved to be the eventual game winner.
With 2:42 remaining in regulation, Second Star Nate Thompson’s backhander, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Cogliano made things interesting, as he connected to pull the Ducks within a goal. But, even with the extra attacker from pulling Gibson, Anaheim was not able to defend their home ice and level the game.
Although this was a fun, tight game to watch according to the scoreboard, the true story was being played out along the boards. 79 total hits were thrown in the game, with the majority (47) thrown by the losing Ducks, who also sat in the box three times as long as Nashville.
First Star Pekka Rinne earns the victory after saving 27 of 29 shots faced (93.1%), while Gibson takes the loss, saving 24 of 27 (88.9%).
These teams will meet up again in Nashville on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. eastern. That contest can be viewed on SN360, TVAS2 or USA.